Thursday, July 02, 2009

How a Sketch Becomes a Painting

After the Rain, an Impressionist Painting



After the Rain Impressionist Painting, painting by Jan Blencowe


Copyright 2009, Jan Blencowe, Connecticut, USA

Media: acrylic

Size: 12 in X 9 in (30.5 cm X 22.9 cm)

Price: $425 USD + sh/h/ins

How to Purchase: send me an email

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About This Painting: The genesis of this painting was a plein air watercolor sketch I did a few weeks ago on the banks of the Lieutenant River in Old lyme, CT, behind the Florence Griswold Museum. The sun had finally broken through after several days of rainy, gray weather.

You may remember it from a previous post:


One of the really beneficial things to working from plein air sketches is the amount of information you record both in the sketch and in your memory. It takes only a split second to snap a photo but it takes focused observation and time to create a sketch. The memory of the scene is rich and filled with all kinds of sensory experiences that help create authenticity in a painting.


The painting began as a demo for my Landscape Fundamentals class on Wednesday evening. I'll tell you what I explained to them.

I was sitting on a stone bench when I did the sketch, so my point of view was low and although there is a wide swath of marsh on the far side of the river you don't really see it from that vantage point. So I decided that it would be more effective if I changed the point of view to allow more of the marsh to show creating greater distance.

Second, the main group of 3 trees was pretty much in the center of the composition and I felt the painting would be better if I pushed them to the right and eliminated the last trees on the far right of the sketch.

Also, the large shrubs on the left were monotonously similar and so I decided to re-sculpt their shape.

What I really wanted to keep was the pattern of warm yellow greens and the variety of color temperature in the shadowed greens. This is when I'm always really thankful for a color sketch made on the spot supplying me with acurate color information.


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